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When I started my retirement travels - the first of which was my solo overseas trip to Italy in 2009 - I wanted a way to share it with family and friends as it happened. Hence, "My Travel Journal". However I realized I wouldn't always be on a trip and wondered what to do with the blog in between times. My daughter pointed out, wisely, that travels can also include trips to the kitchen to try a new recipe, trips to visit family, trips to my neighborhood Starbucks, or a fun day trip with a friend. You're welcome to join me on any of these journeys!

P.S. I've set up separate pages for each of my major trips (see tabs above).

I recently added an "Italian Word a Day" thingie which shows up at the bottom of every page. You see the word and can click to hear it pronounced. I've been enjoying it and I think my accent is improving as time goes by.

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May 17, 2011

Sunday Afternoon and Evening in Asheville

After our drive through Biltmore Village, we headed to downtown Asheville to do some exploring there.  And from what I've read and been told about Asheville for years I was pretty sure I would love it and I certainly do.  And can't remember if I've already written this or just told my sister when I talked to her, but after wandering around downtown, I was all set to start planning a future move to Asheville, kind of seriously.  Only thing is, any time I think of a move, I can't imagine leaving all my friends and acquaintances here and knowing no one there.  Seems kind of late in life to be making all new friends. :)  I suppose I would just start some volunteering here and there, maybe find some type of group - needleworking, miniatures, or something - that I could join and slowly get new friends.  And at least living in a place like Asheville, my old friends might be happy to come visit!

Anyway, there were some neat buildings downtown and I took some pictures.  It was still a beautiful day but was very windy and quite chilly.  But the streets were full of folks enjoying themselves and it certainly looks like a convivial place.  Here are my pics:

Bronze pigs and turkeys represent Asheville's crossroads history at Pack Square right in the middle of downtown.  Looking online I see there is something called the Urban Trail and this is stop 2 on that trail.  I really like it and especially like all the footprints.

This is a monument to Zebulon Baird Vance, the governor of North Carolina during the Civil War who is remembered for his dedication to encouraging tolerance among Christians and Jews.  I looked him up and found this link of interest:  http://www.mountainx.com/news/2003/0507vance.php It is also located at Pack Square as is the following statue:

Below is the county courthouse building - fantastic!

And an attractive and interesting building that I don't know the name of...

and a close-up of this building from another side:

Next we drove out to the Grove Park Inn, a HUGE resort hotel.  My picture (below) doesn't even begin to give an idea of its size.  This is just the entry part of the hotel. 
We had thought we might have dinner there, but the only place we saw people eating was on an outdoor terrace and it was way too chilly to do that.  So we wandered around inside a little and then headed back to the Biltmore.

Finally, it was a beautiful evening which was what Chris had been waiting for.  He wanted photos of the house from the front and from the back with the golden glow of the setting sun.  So, we hiked back up to that little Diana statue and started from there taking pictures as we walked down toward the house front.  There were only two or three people near the house, no buses except the now and then shuttle bus, so it was a perfect time to take pictures.  I took some just because that's what there was to do!

This is one of the gateposts of one of the two entrance gates to the esplanade in front of the house.  And this was my best attempt at getting a shot of the house at this time of day with the sun pretty much shining directly into the camera:

And because of that sun, the beautiful blue sky and white clouds are invisible.

Finally, (no offense Chris!) we hiked back up to the greenhouse for a quick pit stop, then drove around to the lagoon, where you can get a beautiful view of the back of the house.  I've already posted a picture from the lagoon, but there I was again so took some more. :)

Beautiful, isn't it?  The Biltmore offers a 12-month ticket and at first I thought "why would I want that - you can only tour a house so many times".  But after walking the grounds and enjoying their loveliness, I could easily go numerous times a year if I lived nearby, just to do more walking and enjoying during all the seasons of the year.

And, finally, (no offense, Chris) Chris managed to tear himself away I think for my sake more than anything.  I think he would gladly have stayed til dark.  But I was getting hungry and cold so we took ourselves off for dinner and went, again, to Cedric's Pub.  This time we both had fish and chips - tender, crispy and greasy!  Chris also ordered a shrimp ceviche appetizer and a bowl of smoked bacon/brown ale coated almonds that were sinfully delicious.

One more picture out in front of Cedric's Pub:
That's Cedric and Cornelia, George and Edith's daughter.

So that's it - a wonderful long weekend, made more wonderful because it was my son who suggested we do it together.  Thanks, Chris!  xo


Christopher said...

It sure was a fun, tasty, good-weathered trip! Nice that the little bit of rain basically held off until our dinnertime ;) We'll have to go back and try the kayaking on the French Broad River... Let me know if you find any enticing real estate deals down there!

Mary Lynne said...

I have to admit - the idea of that slow meander down that very peaceful river is appealing. And I saw the street where our waitress said they lived, so I may see what's in that area in the way of places to live because hers certainly was very reasonable!


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